AFL Round 3 – The Wrap: I heart Shoeless Jim

What a round it’s been in Footy Eddie.  Black Caviar took on the cream of Sydney Town and showed them that she can do it running backwards.  Jimmy’s Hird took on Best Of The West and won in a photo finish.  Down in Hobart Town The Funnyboner gave us all another big laugh when he led convincingly going past the 8-furlong post before pulling up to a canter over the remainder of the journey.  In the People’s Palace Maiden we saw Screaming Eagle break through for its first win of the season running away from Redleg Lass.  Another maiden, this time in the country, saw Seaford Scrapper break through in an all the way win at Manuka Downs.  Back in the city, Corio Kitten continued her unbeaten run against the winless Mickey’s Nightmare.  And up at the autumn meeting it was another thriller as Boss Voss pipped Where’s Gazza at Royal Metricon.

Come Sunday and we saw Endangered One lead all the way to street Bewildered Bulldog & The Drovers Dog.  Jeffs Pride came out of the main bunch at Chiquita Lodge to demoralize a fancied field that included Miffed Magpie, Buckleys Chance and Carringbush Eddie.  Over at West Lakes, Port Adelaide Aggression put a dent in The Pride of South Australia when he ran down the gelding in the home straight.

We don’t know about you, but around here at The Wrap we’ve signed up for the Keep Shoeless Jim at Whingy Hill Campaign.  C’mon, you can’t take what we saw on Friday night out of The Game.  Sure, it’s highly likely that the various inquires will find that choir boys they ain’t out there where the basalt meets the mountains.  (Not too sure what the AFL inquiry will find though; not after the Ayatollah’s backflip & Bambi’s defiance – Ed)  And it’s really only conjecture that Shoeless a couple of his assistants may have been the guinea pigs for what shows up on the WADA analysis screen after a course of pickled yabby pituitary extract, swine fever syrup and first milk from a daddy cow.  There can be little doubt that they thought they were on a chemically boosted short cut to glory; only the legality remains in question.  (With more QCs & SCs on the case than you’d find in a packet of Smarties, legality, or even veracity, may not even be an issue when it comes to arguing this one – Ed)  And sure, they’re an arrogant bunch born-to-rule of pricks.  But you have to doff your lid to them when you see them come back from the dead on Friday in the manner in which they did – and they did it over in The West in front of the Knowledgeable Fremantle Crowd.  (You’re getting soft Warp; this is Essendon we’re talking about – Ed)

However, signs of support for the Beleaguered Essendon Administration and Coaching Panel in shop windows along Puckle Street may only tell part of the story.  There’s one question that hasn’t been asked, and maybe it’s time it was.  And that’s why did Essendon put their hand up for an investigation?  Call us cynical, but we’ve spent many a morning coffee pondering this one here in the Wrapcave – and the timing of it.  Let’s look at the flow chart.

Essendon announce that gee, we’re not sure, but we think we may have been sailing a bit close to the wind with our fitness management program, and we’d like Andy and the boys at Jellymont House to check it out for us.  Some Students of The Game may feel that they might have drawn that conclusion when they were having that string of soft tissue injuries over the last couple of seasons, but no, it came out just before the front page announcement that an AFP investigation has found a link between organized crime, sports gambling and the trade in gym junky boosters.

The report hammers the ARL, targeting the Cronulla Sharks.  Only passing reference to the AFL and no mention of Essendon.  Phew.

The Sharks get crucified.  Heads roll, and players get ready to cop a season’s suspension.  The Great Helmsman talks down any hasty decisions for the Indigenous Code saying the investigations will take some time to complete and we should get on with the season rather than applying penalties to the EFC or its players.  The theme of the Ayatollah’s mantra hinging on the fact that they volunteered to be investigated – hardly a sign of a guilty party.

Even as late as early last week Supreme Ruler was singing that song.  That is, until Caroline Wilson and her fearless and diligent investigative team uncovered the damning text threads between Chemical Steve & Shoeless Jim.  And Chemical Steve’s allegation that Shoeless Jim & some of his deputies had been injected with substances that are banned by the anti-doping authorities.  At this point the Ayatollah does a backflip that would have given credit to Kirsty Marshall in her heyday.  Calling for the standing down of the Essendon coach, at least while the investigations are underway.  Remember that these were going to take till the end of August, at least, to complete.

Supporting his suggestion came the announcement he had been briefed initially by the federal investigators and had been kept up to speed along the way.  Now while its unwise to draw hasty conclusions, it doesn’t take all that much deliberation to come to one that is supported by the evidence of events.  How many Students of The Game, Punters & Sports Fans would be of the thinking that a deal had been stitched up by the Ayatollah to get The Bombers to come out and, full of butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-their-mouths innocence, ask for the Appalling Football League to double check them on some of their medical science practices that they were having second thoughts about – second thoughts about going into their third year of application?  (Shouldn’t that read third year of injection Wrap? – Ed)  In exchange for this, the Great Helmsman sets up an internal inquiry that will run for an indefinite time, at least until the heat has gone out of the situation or the season – which ever comes first.  You’d do the same thing too if you were in his shoes wouldn’t you; especially if your tenure at the top was likely to be besmirched by the twin scandals of the claytons tanking at Casey Fields and the chemical enhancement slur at Melrose Drive?  (You mean on top of paying himself a rajah’s ransom, expanding the administration of the AFL into public service dimensions and removing The Game from The People? – Ed)

When you look at it through this prism you’d like to think they’d be queuing up to sign a petition for Supreme Ruler to stand down until an investigation into his administration and role in the chain of events surrounding what is unfolding out at Whingy Hill.  Including his family holiday in the middle of last season that took him around the world via the London Olympics.

Maggot Watch I.  Where do you start?  Around here in the Wrapcave we’d like to see change at Maggot Central, starting at the very top.  Geisha, you’ve been there far too long.  Some of the interpretations are beyond bewilderment.  Take the sliding rule and the mark infringement penalties.  The worst example, and there were many, would have to have been the one paid to The Bombers out in the centre square in the shadow of ¾ Time.  The 50m penalty that followed was for goodness knows what, but the resultant goal was the difference between the two sides.  This Great Game of Ours deserves more than soccer-like rulings that give one team the laurels at the blow of a whistle.  As for the mark infringements, it’s worse than blowing your nose at an auction.  Look, if there’s not actual interference with the player and or the run up for the kick, who cares?

Maggot Watch II.  You guessed it; the holding –the-ball and throwing free kicks paid.  It’s getting worse and its becoming more blatant.  Let us say two things.  The longer it’s left as it is the worse it will become and the more difficult it will be to curb.  And it’s going to cost someone a Premiership one day.

But enough of my gabbin, let’s see who’s running free after Round III.

The Barry Crockers v The Peter Pans.  Shoeless Jim and the Essendon Football Club answered their critics in emphatic style on Friday night.  Held goalless in the Opening Stanza and to one solitary major in the First Half, they shrugged off the Dockers’ bear hug and blitzed themselves back into the contest.  And what a contest?  With Eight Points up for grabs it was a match of two styles.  In the end it was Fremantle’s inaccuracy that cost them dearly.  But those more spiritual SOTG would have recognized divine intervention in the Stevedores’ last two shots on goal.  Whether the message was one of redemption for Shoeless Jim or one of condemnation of the Ayatollah will be debated around the coffee machines and canteen counters during this week & beyond.  The Dons front up again next week under cover on Saturday for the twilight match against The Sainters.  The Barry Crockers are guests of The Launceston Hawks for the early one on Saturday.

The Shinboners v The Reigning Premiers.  Memo to self – never every tip The Funnyboners unless they’re playing the Nar Nar Goon 3rds or Samantha Stosur at Wimbledon.  This was another opportunity lost and to be perfectly honest, another disgraceful performance, one that The Long Suffering Gasometer Oval Faithful don’t deserve.  C’mon now, allowing 11-4 in a quarter of football?  And so many of them kicked in red-time.  If the Appalling Football League want to have an enquiry they could do a lot worse than start down at Arden Street.  As for Steak & Kidney, they look to be pacing themselves beautifully.  They’re sitting undefeated at 3rd with a healthy percentage of 145.6.  They raise the curtain in Round IV against The Corio Kittens up at Moore Park Road to see which team goes through to Round V undefeated.  The Kangaroos are back under cover for a match against Brissy in the gathering gloom.

The Unredeemable Demons v The White Hot Pre-Season Premiership Favourites at the Traditional Time & Place.  The Dees stayed with The Screaming Eagles until the Long Interval.  Their coach called this a small victory.  If you were of the mind to agree with him, you’d have to concede that would make their 2nd Half 4-3 to 17-9 a huge thrashing.  The biggest win would have to be that they got 18,571 along to the match.  The win put West Coast on the board and has boosted their percentage into the black.  They are back at Bivouac Subiaco on Saturday night for their contest against The Hapless Silvertails.  Melbourne have a crucial Bottom of The Ladder clash with The Orangemen at The G to open the Sunday segment of Round IV.

The Long Striding Giants v The Feeling Faints.  The Sainters kicked 140 points and looked in complete control all day holding The Giants to 68 points.  It was more an efficient display by The Seagulls than any brilliance, but at this stage of the rebuild Scotty Watters and TLSJOF would have settled for that.  The Orangemen lost their budding ruck star Jonathon Patton.  And BTW, has anyone seen or heard of Tom Scully up there at Breakfast Point?  Saint Kilda are back on The Shifting Sands for Saturday’s twilight match against The Flying Syringes.  Sheedy’s Shenanigans have fellow Cellar Dweller Melbourne in the early one on Sunday.

The Pivotonians v The Silvertails.  Oh Mickey you’re so fine you blow my mind.  To say that The Kreuzer and the Hon Edward C Betts are very very crucial to Carlton’s success understates the situation.  Along with Jarrrod Waite, they’re essential Mick, but I’m sure you’d worked that out before you took on the million dollar a year job.  Now that you’re #1 draft pick ruckman joins the Mercurial Betts & Jarrod on the sidelines your move to Royal Parade has a whiff of a looming train wreck about it.  But what’s most confusing is these bursts of attacking football that almost hauls in the lead forfeited by the haemorrhaging defence.  Let’s know when you’ve worked that out with the Rattzbaggers you inherited will you please Mickey.  In the meantime, let’s leave the flags along La Via Lygon at halfmast, because you’re off to Perth next Saturday Night as Guests of the Eddie Eagles.  The Hoopers were, as usual, up and about.  They have depth, style and play a punishing brand of Footy.  True, they flagged a bit in the last, but they’d done enough early in the piece to have enough cushion to hang on and win comfortably.  The outcome, despite the commentators trying to talk it up, was never really in doubt.  The Moggies are up to Sin City to take on TRP in an Eight Point match the Whole Football World will be watching.  (Which may explain why they took their foot off Carlton’s throat in the closing stages – Ed)

The Sunbeams v The Lions.  If you tire of the Bleak City winter, there’s always the balmy clime of SEQ and the Q Clash. This was an absolute thriller, and the Sunbeams nearly pulled it off.  With Little Gazza playing a minor role this was no mean feat.  True, not a Famous Victory, but a good effort from The Lion Kings.  The Sunnies complete a bracket of home games when they invite The Power up from Port up to enjoy the pleasures of the Gold Coast.  The Boys From Old Fitzroy return to the Heartland as guests of The Beleaguered Kangaroos.

Struggletown v The Sons of The West.  Lids Deledio put The Sons of The West in no doubt that The Tigers had come to play when he roosted one home for the centre break at the Opening Bounce.  Only poor kicking on goal by The Striped Marvels – a 4-9 Opening Stanza – had The Kennel Coughs still in the frame at the First Huddle.  With a defence that is tightening with every match and a dress circle midfield, they are able to swarm goalwards in numbers. The only blemish is their set attack.  However, having players such as Lids & Dusty Martin who can score goals from outside the arc makes a handy addition to Jumping Jack Riewoldt’s contribution from the goalsquare and beyond.  They are back on the Big Stage at the Traditional Time to test themselves against The Depleted Magpies.  The Bow Wows were disappointing.  A fact that showed on the faces of The Long Suffering Western Oval Faithful as they trudged towards Spencer Street Station.  They’re off to The City of Light to take on The Chardonnays in the middle match on Sunday.

Carringbush v The Mayblooms.  Jeff seems to have had more influence as Immediate Past President than they did when he was the incumbent.  Stung by Motormouth’s reckless rhetoric, The Mayblooms carried on from whwre they left off last week.  Turning on a master class Second Half against The Poor Old Maggies, they showed anyone one who cared to watch that they were TIOWAAT*.  Trailing The Pies by TNPM at the Long Break, they slammed on 15-6 (96) to 6-6 (42) in wet conditions in the remaining two segments of the match.  Buddy’s coast-to-coast goal was a standout in many scintillating passages of play.  No amount of GAD could get Buckley’s Heroes back into the contest and The Black&White Army was on the move long before the Final Siren.  And who could blame them?  With the rain making viewing uncomfortable, why sit around to watch the hanging?  But let’s not be too harsh on them.  Hawthorn were unstoppable, which Freo are likely to learn when they venture down to Hork Park next Saturday for the early one.  For Carringbush it doesn’t get any easier.  Sadly depleted of key players and with injury and form clouds hanging over others, they go head-to-head with Traditional Rivals Richmond at THOF as The Tiges enter a crucial 4-week itinerary that includes Collingwood (H), Freo (A), Geelong (H) & Port (A).

The Power From Port v The Pride of South Australia for Showdown XXXIV.  Dear oh dear oh dear.  Up more than five goals at the 10-minute mark of the Championship Quarter, the Chardonnays lost their sparkle – as they did against The Flying Highs in Round I.  But there’s more to it than that, The Tealers still had to come back.  And there must be some clubs who should be kicking themselves by now for letting the chance to appoint Ken Hinkley as Senior Coach slip by them.  It seemed the Cinderella of coaching was never going to get a gig.  His praises were sung by everyone who had worked with him, yet he kept missing out.  The job at Alberton seen as a consolation prize.  One who’s certainly not laughing now is Brenton Sanderson.  Twice now the Highly Fancied Adelaide Crows have squandered winning positions, and even though they came back to defeat The Lions up at The Gabbatoir, they’ve looked far from impressive.  With key players down on confidence and now Van Berlo under an injury cloud, it appears they may still be bleeding from the off-season pull through they received from the Appalling Football League.  They have till next Saturday night to get their act together when they meet The Boys of The Chihuahua Breed.  The Power are off to warmer climes on Sunday when they take on The Little Gazzas.

And remember, if you read it in The Wrap you’ll know it’s not crap.

Let me leave you with the wisdom of Damien Hardwick and John Quincy Adams this week.

The best place to be is where expectations are high.  That’s when you get the best results.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader

I know some of these can seem politically incorrect, but they still raise a laugh.

A blonde come to a riverbank and spots another blonde on the other side.

“Yoo-hoo”, she shouts.  “How do I get across to the other side?”

The second blonde looks up and down the river and shouts back, “You are on the other side”.

Quite lateral really, when you think about it.

* – TIOWAAT – Taking It One Week At A Time


About John Mosig

I'm an Aussie Rules tragic who can remember, as a four year old, shaking the hand of Captain Blood in the rooms just before he ran out onto the ground after half time, as my Old Man slipped him a packet of under-the-counter Craven A cork tipped. Now it's my turn to take my grandson Ben through the ritual of character building that is the journey through PUNT ROAD to the outside world.


  1. Priceless pearls of persipicacity as usual Mr Wrap.
    Is Sir Frank Downright on a retainer at Whingy Hill yet? I liked all your racehorse names. Distant memory tells me that there was a pretty decent horse called Supreme Ruler back in the 80’s. Wet tracker??? Over to you Crio, Budge and Skip.
    I am all in favour of an Almanacker syndicate for an animal to be named “Awaiting Moderation”. Somehow it seems the story of my life.
    On more serious matters – I need some guidance on your Tigers. I got 8 on the weekend and your boys cost me the sweep. I knocked up picking them last year, and they always managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I thought the Dogs looked pretty reasonable in the first 2 rounds, but your boys stitched ’em up proper. Tiger consistency and reliability seems ‘bad for football’ to me. What’s gone wrong down at Punt Road?
    Not many dud teams this year, so anyone taking short odds about faves will be on the fast track to the poor house (I have only recently relinquished my tenancy agreement – see previous comments regarding “Awaiting Moderation”).
    GWS and the Dees look the only hopeless cases to me. A few injuries to the wrong players and most of the rest could be anywhere between Top 8 and Bottom 4. Mitchell and Hodge out of Hawks. Selwood out of Cats (Varcoe’s gone). Difference between very good and handy.
    I reckon your Tige’s have been scouring the dustbins out at Whingy Hill. Hardwick held up the security van on the way on the way to the industrial incinerator.

  2. Don’t give up on The Tiges Mr B. They’re up and about. Not quite BIT yet, but maybe after they’ve stitched up the depleted Magpies next Saturday. The experienced recruits have plugged some important holes and Chokko Williams has been just what the doctor ordered to get some of the wayward lads to knuckle down. This is a new look Richmond Outfit, make no mistake. No need for supplements, we run on pure adrenaline down at Punt Road. .

    Good to see your mob on the board at last. The Hawks look the best I’ve seen them for a while so early in the season. Scary.

    Hope the racing parlance didn’t get the juices running too much. And for the record, Sir Frank has never been off the payroll at Whingy Hill, and he’s signed up with the Flying Syringes out at Melrose Drive .

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